11 individuals were recently arrested in a human trafficking operation that occurred in Denton County. The charges involved included prostitution, compelling prostitution, and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. Law enforcement’s operation was conducted with the particular goal of rescuing human traffick victims. The Denton County Sheriff’s Office has expressed the intent to continue rescuing victims of human trafficking. Soliciting a prostitute in the state of Texas is considered an illegal offense that can result in some particularly severe penalties including time in prison. As a result, individuals in Texas should not hesitate to contact a criminal defense attorney if charged with an offense as well as understand some of the key details about this law.
Applicable Texas Law
Being charged with the solicitation of a prostitute in the state of Texas involves several key elements. Soliciting a prostitute involves exchanging something of economic value for a sexual act. A sexual act does not have to be intercourse but can be any lewd act that is designed to arouse sexual feelings. There are several parties that can be charged with solicitation of a prostitute including the customer, the prostitute, and third party that procures prostitution, which could include pimps.
Many charges of soliciting a prostitute involve sting operations to catch a person in the commission of paying for sex. When the person attempts to make a payment, law enforcement arrests the individual. Some people falsely believe that a defense of entrapment is always available in response to these sting operations, but entrapment specifically refers to situations in which law enforcement persuades an individual to commit an act that the person would not otherwise do. Being charged for the first time for the solicitation of a prostitute is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, which can result in a person facing up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. A person with at least one previous prostitution conviction will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor which can result in that person facing up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. In addition to these penalties, individuals who are convicted of solicitation of a prostitute can be ordered to perform a set number of hours of community service or even required to attend educational classes.
Defenses to a Charge of Soliciting a Prostitute
To be charged with soliciting a prostitute, the prosecution must prove that an object of value was exchanged for sexual services. Failure to present proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed this offense is often used as a defense in these cases.
Retain the Help of a Talented Denton Criminal Defense Lawyer
For people in Denton County and the surrounding area who are charged with prostitution-related offenses, the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney can prove to be particularly beneficial. If you are charged with any of these offenses, consider contacting a lawyer at Wheeler Law Office LLC today.
(image courtesy of Gabriel Santiago)